Camden ban on anti-royal party faces lawsuit


3:33 pm - April 11th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The anti-monarchy group Republic said it was taking legal advice today after Camden Council in London rejected its application for a republican street party that would not celebrate the royal wedding.

They say Camden council is discriminating on the grounds of political belief for banning the street party.

Camden initially gave the go ahead in March for Earlham Street in Covent Garden to be the site of Republic’s party. But with just three weeks to go the Council has refused to provide a temporary traffic order to close Earlham Street, effectively banning the event altogether.

Republic say the police and the council had confirmed last week they had no problem with the nature of the event and were happy that there were no public safety concerns.

Its head Graham Smith vowed the party would go ahead:

This is a disgraceful attack on the rights of republicans to make their voice heard and to hold a fun and peaceful event. Camden Council is allowing a few vocal residents and businesses to veto any event in central London they do not support.

Our street party is designed to be a peaceful, fun, family event with food, music and stalls. The police, local businesses and the council’s own staff have been fully supportive of our plans. We can only assume this is a politically motivated ban and we will challenge it all the way.

We are now taking legal advice to see if we can overturn this decision in the courts.

According to Political Scrapbook, Camden council have issued this statement saying they were told by local business it would “directly contradict the Royal Wedding theme in terms of their merchandise”.

“Taking into consideration the feeling of the local community the council have decided to refuse the application and Earlham Street will not be closed on 29 April 2011,” they added. Full statement here.

Outrageous.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Shatterface

‘According to Political Scrapbook, Camden council have issued this statement saying they were told by local business it would “directly contradict the Royal Wedding theme in terms of their merchandise”.

Local entrepeneurs should consider the anti-monarchists a potential niche market for toy guillotines and V for Vendetta masks.

Where’s their business spirit? Did they learn nothing from the Punk counter-celebrations of the 70s Jubilee?

2. Chaise Guevara

“But with just three weeks to go the Council has refused to provide a temporary traffic order to close Earlham Street, effectively banning the event altogether”

You’re making the word “effectively” do a HELL of a lot of work there. There’s a difference between banning something and refusing to actively help out.

Oh ffs, this is Daily Mail ‘banned’ and therefore not banned. I was quite interested until I read the article.

“There’s a difference between banning something and refusing to actively help out.”

“Oh ffs, this is Daily Mail ‘banned’ and therefore not banned.”

Hang on a minute – haven’t Republic been ‘banned’ from holding this event in the same fairly robust sense that I’m ‘banned’ from pitching a tent in the middle of the road outside my house?

Hang on a minute – haven’t Republic been ‘banned’ from holding this event in the same fairly robust sense that I’m ‘banned’ from pitching a tent [snigger] in the middle of the road outside my house?

Yes.

This is not a republican/monarchist issue- it’s about freedom of expression.

“The official reason given was that this would not ‘bring people together’ in the way that such gatherings are supposed to.”

The clear conclusion is that the street party would have been sanctioned had it been pro- monarchist but it has not been because it was pro-republican.

http://lpuk.org/2011/04/the-slow-lingering-death-of-liberty/

Well what do you expect, the Royals are just a bunch of Germans.

Ve hav vays of making you enjoy yourself, ya!

Only parties sanctioned by the brown shirts will be tolerated.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 G.O.

“Hang on a minute – haven’t Republic been ‘banned’ from holding this event in the same fairly robust sense that I’m ‘banned’ from pitching a tent in the middle of the road outside my house?”

The default is that you can’t pitch a tent in a public street, or close that street to have a party. So the council had refused to grant special circumstances. Call that a ban if you must, but I think it’s pretty strong, and you’d have to point out that everyone in the world is currently banned from closing that street.

However, if the quote Pagar gives above is accurate, it does appear this has been done for political, monarchistic reasons, so the lawsuit seems like a good idea.

One or two people don’t appear to have read the Camden Council statement Sunny linked to.

The Council received an application to close Earlham Street from Republic, an organisation who wished to hold a “Not the Royal Wedding Street Party” on 29 April 2011.“While we know Republic to be a responsible organisation we are unaware of any local connection with between them and the location they have chosen. We also understand that a neighbouring Council have refused a similar request from Republic.

“While the event was widely publicised by Republic prior to permission being granted we consider all street closures on merit.

“An initial application was due to be refused following concern from the police as to how the event would be managed, and strong local objections, and the council entered into constructive dialogue with Republic. We requested that they provide us with an event management plan and engage with local residents and businesses to build support for such an event taking place in their community.

“During discussions with the community, significant concerns were raised around the potential for disorder and the impact of the event taking place. Many local businesses were opposed to the event taking place as it would directly contradict the Royal Wedding theme in terms of their merchandise.

“Taking into consideration the feeling of the local community the council have decided to refuse the application and Earlham Street will not be closed on 29 April 2011.”

10. Mr S. Pill

They should reapply under a fake name pretending to be Royalists, then when acceptance is granted reveal themselves as Republic.

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 9 ukliberty

I’m not sure whether that’s meant to attack or defend the council. It’s an okayish reason that still leaves open the possibility of duplicity. And also the fairly large question of whether something like this should be refused just because there are more locals against it than for it.

Personally I think street closures should generally be refused for private events or anything that few people show an interest in. Someone’s birthday party, for instance. But that’s just me, and I’m aware that they must have plenty of factors to consider. However, it does seem like the excuse being used is “they’re in the minority!”, which seems pretty rubbish to me.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 10

“They should reapply under a fake name pretending to be Royalists, then when acceptance is granted reveal themselves as Republic.”

Good idea. I suspect what’ll actually happen is they’ll protest or attempt to derail the nearest pro-monarchy celebration, which probably isn’t what anyone wants.

Camden Council’s statement from the horse’s mouth (different from the one quoted earlier):

“Camden Council received an application to close Earlham Street from Republic, an organisation who wished to hold a “Not the Royal Wedding Street Party” on 29 April 2011.

“The application was refused due to objections from Camden residents and organisations representing more than 140 local businesses. These groups strongly opposed the event as they felt it would negatively impact on their sales, and they also raised a number of public safety concerns as to how the event would be managed.

“The council has since been in on-going discussions with Republic to resolve these issues – including offering them the opportunity to apply for their event to be held at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the largest public open space in the Covent Garden area. However, Republic has refused this offer.

“Camden has a duty to support the best interests of local people in our borough. We did not agree for the event to take place at Earlham Street following strong objection from the local community.”

Chaise,

I’m not sure whether that’s meant to attack or defend the council.

Neither – just quoting what the council reportedly said in a statement.

And also the fairly large question of whether something like this should be refused just because there are more locals against it than for it.

Huh, and I thought Republic supported democracy.

Quite interesting how Call me Dave is playing politics with the wedding.

It is not his job to be a salesman for the wedding.

15. Chaise Guevara

@ UKliberty

“Huh, and I thought Republic supported democracy.”

Hold on. Is it anti-democratic to allow minority groups to express themselves? More accurately, is it anti-democratic to help minority groups to express themselves by doing those things councils can do, like closing off a street so they can have a politicised party? I don’t think it is, unless the country as a whole has voted against street parties of that sort. Democracy doesn’t mean “those who disagree with the majority should have their views repressed”, even if it’s mild repression like this.

No connection with campden, No support from the locals.
Sounds more like a bunch of neo-nazis more intrested in pushing their own views on others than what street parties are meant to be about.
By locals, For locals, Benefitting locals, With the will of the locals.
I wonder how many of these people have ever even been to Campden, let alone lived there as its clear it was not their first choice or try.
No to political jackbooting of locals by outsiders for political reasons good on Capmden

“”Hold on. Is it anti-democratic to allow minority groups to express themselves? More accurately, is it anti-democratic to help minority groups to express themselves by doing those things councils can do, like closing off a street so they can have a politicised party?””

I’ll remember you said that the next time the EDL want to march against the ever increasing Islamification of whole parts of Nritish cities.
Far more important an issue too.

17: the subtle difference is that there *actually is going to be* a Royal Wedding.

Chaise,<blockquote<Democracy doesn’t mean “those who disagree with the majority should have their views repressed”, even if it’s mild repression like this.“repression”?

If the word is to have any meaning, surely it should be reserved for cases where protesters are actually being prevented from protesting.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 18

LOL, well put.

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 ukliberty

“”repression”?

If the word is to have any meaning, surely it should be reserved for cases where protesters are actually being prevented from protesting.”

Whatever, I’m not really interested in a semantic argument here. But surely you agree that a biased system like this is problematic?

The council is a form of local government, not a private interest. It shouldn’t be working to make sure that its chosen group (monarchists in this case) get all the support they need, and can requisition public streets if they feel like it, while those in the group it disfavors are refused the same privileges.

Call it repression or don’t, I agree that might count as hyperbole. But it’s a bit much to act as if Republic are being nasty anti-democrats just for wanting equal treatment. By that logic, the BBC should only ever broadcast the POV of the present government: they represent the will of the people, so why should anyone else get state support for their views?

So because they will close a road for an important and rare event like a royal wedding*, they have to close roads for any arbitrary reason people demand? Not that I care two hoots about the wedding, but it can’t be denied it does exist as an event.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Tom

No. Because they’ll close the streets for monarchist parties, they should be prepared to do the same for republican parties, assuming that there’s a reasonable level of interest. What they shouldn’t be doing is telling people that they’re not entitled to the same treatment simply because of their politics, as Camden has done.

The fact that they might be closing roads for the wedding procession itself is a different issue.

I actually think the misleading statement that they have banned a monarchist party is distracting from the actual good point here, as such things often do.

Because this party is still about the event of the wedding, I can see the point of view that it should have the same treatment. It is pretty dubious to say we won’t support *your* wedding party because you aren’t pro-royal enough.

16. Demo
It doesn’t sound as if you’ve ever been to Camden either or you’d know there’s no P in Camden.

26. James from Durham

I am very dubious about Republic’s position here. Councils don’t close roads down willy nilly and rightly not – it interferes with other peoples liberty. There is a consensus that on certain occasions local street parties get special treatment and streets may be closed. This is to encourage community spirit and the idea is that these should be local expressions. Now, if a bunch of Camden residents got together and said “we want to have a street party on the occasion of the royal wedding but we want a republican theme, that would be one thing. But this is different – a national organization has looked round and basically said “how can we do a demonstration and sneek in under the banner of a local street party”.

I am not a monarchist myself – I would abolish the whole bloody institution. And titles of nobility. But I think Republic are being a bit disingenuous here.

Chaise,

The council is a form of local government, not a private interest. It shouldn’t be working to make sure that its chosen group (monarchists in this case) get all the support they need, and can requisition public streets if they feel like it, while those in the group it disfavors are refused the same privileges.

We must weigh these competing interests (my liberty is bounded by yours):

A. the interests of traders on that particular street whose business will apparently suffer if Republic has its party there (because the party is of a particular nature);

B. the interests of Republic, (so far) prevented from having their party in a particular format on that particular street, while there are numerous alternative venues available.

But it’s a bit much to act as if Republic are being nasty anti-democrats …

I didn’t; my comment was a facetious comment I presently regret (because it has turned into a distraction).

By that logic, the BBC should only ever broadcast the POV of the present government: they represent the will of the people, so why should anyone else get state support for their views?

Minority views lack alternative outlets, absent the BBC’s assistance they might not be broadcast at all.

Why have an anti-royal party when you could be holding celebrations for Phil Tufnell, David Icke or Jerry Seinfeld’s birthdays?

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 UKliberty

“We must weigh these competing interests (my liberty is bounded by yours):”

Sure.

“A. the interests of traders on that particular street whose business will apparently suffer if Republic has its party there (because the party is of a particular nature);”

I’m actually a bit baffled by the claims of these business. I don’t see how Republic’s party would be expected to harm their sales – if anything, attracting a load of people to the street should help them. I wonder if it’s just quite a royalist area, and the businesses are really objecting because the idea offends their owners. But I don’t know for certain.

“B. the interests of Republic, (so far) prevented from having their party in a particular format on that particular street, while there are numerous alternative venues available.”

It’s not a massive deal to Republic. But as well as weighing interests, I think we need to consider fairness when it comes to political causes and local government. If the basis for the rejection is just that they’re republicans, that seems dodgy to me.

“Minority views lack alternative outlets, absent the BBC’s assistance they might not be broadcast at all.”

It was an analogy, not a direct comparison. Obviously restricting the BBC to broadcasting majority views would be a big deal, unlike the situation in hand. My point was that you can show bias no just by actively repressing people, but by offering support to different groups in a selective way. And that a public body – like the Beeb or a local council – arguably should not be doing this.

Well if I can’t join the anti Royal Wedding party then I’m certainly going to wear my Stuff The Royal Wedding T-Shirt http://www.stardustkids.co.uk/acatalog/Royal_Wedding_T-Shirts.html

31. David Hodd

– well if republicans cannot get permission to protest about the monarchy through a street party, then all a republican can do is to attend a monarchist one, and spoil that party.

This strikes me as a very wreckless line for a council to take, since they are sowing the seeds of discontent.

– and anyone considering the event has not been banned could do with reading up the Road Traffic Acts on obstruction. The street party would be unlawful until the council consent.

Of course, there might be a way around it, if those attending the street party, continued to be on the move up and down the street, then they would not be causing an obstruction. In which case they might need one or more of these:

http://www.conferencebike.com/

32. David Hodd

17. Davey Boy

– I am afraid you have another posting which is full of hate. The leap from republican protest to EDL “oppression” reads like you also contribute to Private Eye’s “from the message boards”

The suggestion that the EDL are somehow an oppressed minority is intriguing. As discussed elsewhere, anyone who wants to take away the rights and freedoms of others by intimidation and sowing hatred frankly needs to be an oppressed minority.

With rights comes responsibilities.

– oh and your “ever increasing Islamification of parts of Nritish cities” is supposition.

33. Jack Frost

I’m totally in favour of abolishing the monarchy. Keeping sentient beings trapped for a lifetime inside a gilded cage seems uncommonly cruel to me. The Windsors are heavily trained to live that way dutifully from childhood, but it’s a total waste of their lives, and a poor reflection on British social attitudes. So I’d like to see the monarchy wound down, following a genuine public debate and a period of rethinking, provided that a future referundum shows that is what the British people want. But that’s very clearly not what the majority of British people want right now. Very far from it. Which leads me to my next point.

Hearing about the Camden street party made me angry. On any other day at all, a ban on a republican street party would have been totally wrong. But of all the days to choose to stage a republican street party, this was the very worst. It was tasteless, childish and malicious of the would-be organisers to choose the day of the royal wedding. William and Kate are in no way responsible for the existence of the monarchy and they are no less deserving of people’s good wishes than any other couple getting married. I say good luck to them, and good luck to those who want to celebrate their marriage.

Please let’s see the republican movement doing something to attract public interest and respect for the cause, rather than anger and disgust.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Jack Frost

If you’re letting royals determine when you can and can’t object to the monarchy, you’re a pretty rubbish republican! It’s not like they wanted to protest outside the wedding venue itself – it’s hardly impinging on someone’s big day to do something in another part of the country. And for obvious reasons, having it on this day would probably get more media attention and public interest.

Don’t get me wrong, if it or something like it goes ahead and they’re making vicious personal attacks on William and Kate, I’ll join you in calling them immature. But your censure seems a bit over the top given what we know so far.

35. Jack Frost

@34 Chaise Guevara

So you think I’m a rubbish republican. Well I think your reading comprehension and thinking skills are rubbish. There is nothing in my comment that suggests I wish to let the royals determine anything whatsoever other than the course of their own lives.

To stage an anti-royalist demonstration on the wedding day is just downright tasteless and spiteful and it would do nothing to advance republicanism. The Royal Wedding saga is going to run for months. Picking a later date when people start to weary of the tabloid media coverage, and become aware of the time and expense wasted on the national obsession with royalty, would have been far more productive. Staging a demonstration on the day itself will get plenty of media attention alright – and it will do nothing other than discredit republicans as mean and petty, and antagonise the great majority of people who are lukewarm towards the monarchy but wish the the couple well.

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 35 Jack Frost

“So you think I’m a rubbish republican. Well I think your reading comprehension and thinking skills are rubbish. There is nothing in my comment that suggests I wish to let the royals determine anything whatsoever other than the course of their own lives.”

“You” in my post was meant to be general, not specific – I didn’t mean you personally. Better phrasing would have been “If Republic decided not to protest out of deference to royalty, they’d be pretty rubbish republican campaigners”. That wasn’t clear, though, so my apologies.

“To stage an anti-royalist demonstration on the wedding day is just downright tasteless and spiteful and it would do nothing to advance republicanism. The Royal Wedding saga is going to run for months. Picking a later date when people start to weary of the tabloid media coverage, and become aware of the time and expense wasted on the national obsession with royalty, would have been far more productive.”

I suspect otherwise. Having a “not the royal wedding” party on the day of the wedding has more media oomph – it’s not quite ironic, but it’s something like that. It seems more newsworthy to me.

More to the point, this isn’t an either/or decision. Have a fun-but-meaningful republican shindig on the day of the wedding, and also have a more serious protest at a later date. One doesn’t preclude the other.

“Staging a demonstration on the day itself will get plenty of media attention alright – and it will do nothing other than discredit republicans as mean and petty, and antagonise the great majority of people who are lukewarm towards the monarchy but wish the the couple well.”

From which papers, exactly? Sure, the rightwing press will either castigate or ignore it, but when would they ever treat a republican event differently? Whereas the leftwing press might offer support, and less politicised outlets might report it as an amusing “and finally” piece, which is fine too.

The truth is that neither you nor I can be certain whether this event would result in a net gain or net loss to its cause. Personally, I feel that it doesn’t seem risky enough to justify cancelling it.

And as I suggested above, while harrassing the couple at or near the actual wedding seems tasteless and unfair to me too, I see no reason why the whole country has to be on its best behaviour. I think that would mark the move from courtesy into deference.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jane Bradley

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  2. Michael Bater

    Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Q9I7LBD via @libcon

  3. Thomas Neumark

    @Tim_Flatman story still building (http://bit.ly/dPYKPr) I like the dismissal of people as "vocal residents"

  4. John Symons

    It's one rule for them and another rule for us. Tatty merchandise sellers trump republicans in Camden http://bit.ly/dPYKPr via @libcon

  5. Kristofer Keane

    RT @Greenleftie: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Q9I7LBD via @libcon

  6. Emma Nicol

    RT @Greenleftie: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Q9I7LBD via @libcon

  7. sunny hundal

    Camdeb council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  8. Simon

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camdeb council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  9. dOSsdaz

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camdeb council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  10. Gavin Deas

    RT @Greenleftie: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Q9I7LBD via @libcon

  11. sunny hundal

    Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling earlier, sorry)

  12. Sam Jones

    David Cameron complaining about council 'red-tape' stopping royal wedding street parties. Doesn't mention this – http://bit.ly/dHs5El

  13. Derek Bryant

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling …

  14. RealPattiOwens

    RT@dOSssDaz RT @sunny_hundal: Camdeb council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  15. Press Not Sorry

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  16. Joseph O'Brien

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling …

  17. No Life

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling …

  18. clint iguana

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  19. Renfield286

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling …

  20. Jon Squires

    Camden faces lawsuit for banning anti-royal party http://t.co/sbUMkJP via @libcon

  21. Asif Khan

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  22. Pathetic Cameron | Daily News Items

    […] Oh Just in, talk about contradiction to go along with Cuts, Chaos and confusion (and inCompetence) http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/04/11/legal-threat-to-camden-council-over-anti-royal-street-party/… […]

  23. Betsy-Rose Fishburg

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  24. Chris Boyle

    RT @ciphergoth: Camden Council faces lawsuit for underhandedly banning anti-monarchy street party at the last minute http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  25. Neutron Decay

    RT @ciphergoth: Camden Council faces lawsuit for underhandedly banning anti-monarchy street party at the last minute http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  26. Charlotte Collins

    RT @sunny_hundal: Camden council faces lawsuit for abruptly banning anti-royal wedding street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr (wrong spelling earlier, sorry)

  27. Tonbridge Uncut

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  28. .

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  29. Jennie Mann

    RT @libcon: Legal threat to Camden council over anti-royal street party http://bit.ly/dPYKPr

  30. Symbols matter: the case for a republic | The Ambivalent Leftie

    […] about abolishing the monarchy.  I have Camden Borough Council’s decision to effectively ban the only republican street party in Britain to thank for spurring me to […]

  31. Camden ‘smears’ over anti-Royal wedding party | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] The anti-monarchy group Republic today hit back at Camden council over the latter’s decision to block their bid for an anti-royal wedding […]





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